IS THIS IMPORTANT FOR MY PRACTICE?
Yes. According to a recent survey by FindLaw, part of the Thomson Reuters media network, the internet has become the most popular way for people to find attorneys. That doesn’t mean it’s the only way you should be advertising – most notably, referrals from friends and relatives remain a strong second choice for people trying to find an attorney – but having a strong internet presence is clearly a major source of clients.
HOW CAN I BE SUCCESSFUL AT SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION?
First off, it’s important to understand that you have a lot of competition, and you’re probably not going to be successful if you focus on the national level. (The exception to this is large firms that take on clients from around the country, which may actually have a chance of succeeding here.)
Instead, it’s best to focus on local SEO – that is, creating content that’s designed only for the people in your area of practice. Major parts of this include:
- Putting your address on your website so search engines know where you are geographically located
- Using location-based keywords (such as “attorney in <your city>”), and checking traffic on these keywords to be sure they’ll bring enough views
- Registering your practice in a variety of online directories, especially Google My Business
- Creating outstanding content that other websites will want to link to
- Make time to create a presence on social media
Remember, SEO ultimately isn’t about you, even when you’re using it to find new clients. When people do a search, what they reallywant to know is whether or not you can help them with whatever legal problem they’re having. The better you can communicate that value, the more likely it is that visitors will click through to your site and ultimately ask to hire you.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE BEFORE I SEE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF BUSINESS COMING IN?
It can take several months to rise high enough in search rankings to be truly visible. Your business will not see an overnight jump in the number of people calling in. Instead, it’s more likely that you’ll see a slow increase in clients over time.
Your goal during the first few months of this sort of campaign is to create as much high-quality content as you can, targeting each page to a different keyword. At bare minimum, you should aim for having several dozen pages of ‘evergreen’ content that will remain relevant for years to come. Each page may not bring in very many views all by itself, but cumulatively, doing well at SEO may be able to help you get all the business you can handle.